Budget 2022 – After Covid: A Lasting Dividend For Workers

We all hope we are now edging our way out of the dark period of the public health emergency.

However, If we are to learn anything from the experience of the Covid emergency, we must move forward to a better society that is equipped and resourced to address the on-going emergencies that persist in healthcare, housing, climate & biodiversity and the major deficits that exist in many other areas of public service and vital infrastructure.

We must also acknowledge, not on a once-off basis but permanently, the contribution of hundreds of thousands of working people to sustaining our society: our frontline and essential workers, our public servants, our transport workers, our arts and culture workers, our carers and many others, without whom we would not have met the challenge of the Covid emergency and we will not be able to meet the challenges that face us.

Critically, People Before Profit believe the key lesson of the Covid emergency was that to meet the challenge of a society wide crisis, we had to abandon the economic and fiscal orthodoxies of neo-liberalism and a market/profit  based system and embark on unprecedented levels of state intervention to protect and sustain our society and our people.

Our submission to Budget 2022 seeks to carry forward this vital lesson of the Covid emergency to face the emergencies and challenges that remain with us and will face us in the future. 

Furthermore, our submission seeks to demonstrate that the wealth and resources exist in our society to address these emergencies and face these challenges but that the gross inequalities in the distribution of income, wealth and resources are the major impediment in deploying those resources to meet our societies urgent needs.

Indeed, one of the startling facts about the period of the Covid pandemic is that while huge swathes of working people and our less well-off and vulnerable citizens endured incredible hardship, loss of employment and income, the profits and wealth of very richest in our society and large corporations increased very dramatically. 

We note for example that pre-tax Corporate profits have jumped an incredible 172% from €75 billion in 2012 to €203.8 billion in 2020 with an effective tax rate of only 5.8%. Meanwhile 2 million workers, most of whom have been restricted to annual pay increases of 1-3% earned €130 billion between them last year but paid €27 billion in tax and USC – an average of 20%, almost four times the proportion of income paid by the corporations. 

We note further that the personal wealth of the super-wealthy in Irish society jumped to record levels in 2020. Net household wealth increased by €89 billion in 2020 to €883 billion with the wealthiest 5% of households holding 37.5% of that wealth or €331 billion between them – an average household income of €3.8 million! 

Our submission asserts that it is both possible and necessary to embark on a radical programme of redistribution of wealth and income in order to deploy the resources and wealth where it is needed to meet the urgent needs of our society and ensure just reward and quality of life for all. 

Expenditure highlights

  • Quality affordable housing 

Deliver 25-29,000 public & affordable homes in 2022 on public land, through direct construction, acquisition, refurbishment and via NAMA. 

100% redress for MICA redress.

Invest to deliver 50,000 retrofits a year 

Abolish the Local Property Tax and replace with a Non Principql Primary Residence

  • A lasting post pandemic dividend for workers

Increase minimum wage to €15

Abolish Croke Park Hours 

Abolish the USC on all income under €90,000 

Restore Pension age to 65

  • Free and quality education for all

Abolish all third level fees, both tuition and registration, for under graduates, post graduates and mature students.

Abolish voluntary contribution and other primary and post primary charges

Reduce pupil-teacher ratio to 1:15

  • A national health service

Invest in a permanent increase in capacity all across the health service with free GP and primary care.  Abolish point of care charges

  • For a cleaner environment 

Introduce free public transport and invest in a just transition

Revenue Raising highlights:

  • Double the Corporate tax take & close loop-holes, 
  • Introduce a wealth tax on assets over €1m and 
  • Higher income tax on earnings over €100,000 , 
  • Increase employers PRSI, 
  • Establish a  Non-Principal Private Residence Tax
  • Establish a Higher Income Social Charge

Read the full budget document here: